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Peterborough Downtown BIA Launches Digital Service Squad to Help Small Businesses Adopt Online Technologies
DBIA Receives $53,000 Digital Main Street Grant
August 13, 2020, Peterborough — The Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area has received a $53,000 grant from Digital Main Street Ontario for a three-member Digital Service Squad (DSS) to help small downtown businesses in Peterborough’s downtown use digital technologies to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. The squad will be accessible to over 500 downtown and central area businesses. Funding for the grant is provided by FedDev Ontario.
“Going digital is key to the long-term success of our local downtown businesses, especially in the current economic situation,” said Terry Guiel, DBIA Executive Director. “Adding digital aspects to the bricks and mortar character of our downtown business community keeps it relevant, assessable and competitive. Thanks to Digital Main Street Ontario for both the program and the grant. We know many of our businesses will get through this difficult time stronger and more prepared for the future.”
Established in 2018, Digital Main Street Ontario was recently extended thanks to an investment of $42.5 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and $7.45 million from the Ministry for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT). The almost $50-million investment will help small businesses across Ontario to pivot their operations to include online business models, regain lost revenue and become more resilient and competitive as the economy recovers. The Ontario BIA Association administers the DMS grant program to Ontario’s main street small businesses.
“Ontario’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the keystone of our economic recovery,” said Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “That is why we have invested in Digital Main Street to help these enterprises adapt to doing business in a digital world and take advantage of the record number of people shopping online. Congratulations to the Peterborough Downtown BIA on the launch of your Digital Service Squad. The work you’re doing with small businesses in your community will help keep our main streets vibrant, support good local jobs and help our economy come back strong.”
Fundamental to DMS’s design are Digital Service Squads, trained specialists who meet with small businesses, at no cost, to help them improve their online presence. The squads assist with a number of activities, including developing a Google My Business profile, enhancing their social media presence and providing support for basic website and e-commerce set-up. Squads will also assist qualified small businesses through the application process for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant, which includes an online assessment, online training modules and the development of a Digital Transformation Plan (DTP).
“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario’s main streets hard, so Digital Main Street is needed more than ever,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA. “We know that businesses that participated in Digital Main Street last year were better able to cope when the pandemic hit, and we’re excited that FedDev Ontario and MEDJCT are providing the funding to extend this important program to help businesses in communities like Peterborough.
ABOUT the Peterborough Downtown BIA
The Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area is a non-profit organization representing 400 businesses in Peterborough’s downtown core. Located just 60 minutes from the GTA, Downtown Peterborough is the hub of the Kawarthas cottage country with fashion boutiques, outdoor markets, fine dining, trendy cafes, pubs and nightclubs, live music, theatre, and much more. With personalized service and big city selection, Downtown Peterborough offers a unique shopping and entertainment experience, all within walking distance along the picturesque Otonabee River.
OBIAA is the network that represents unique and vibrant BIAs across Ontario. The Association supports and advocates on behalf of its members through the building and nurturing of strong relationships and partnerships. OBIAA is a leader in the development and sharing of information, tools, resources and best practices, and is the ONE voice on common issues.
ABOUT Digital Main Street
Digital Main Street is an innovative program designed to help main street small businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, grants and Digital Service Squads teams of street-level experts that help main street small businesses manage and grow their operations through technology adoption. The program was originally created in 2016 by the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) and a group of strategic partners including Google, MasterCard, Microsoft, and Shopify. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca
ABOUT Digital Main Street Ontario
Digital Main Street was expanded across all of Ontario in 2018 with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the $38 million Main Street Revitalization Initiative. It has been further extended through a funding from FedDev Ontario and MEDJCT. The new round of funding includes $42.5 million from the Government of Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, a national recovery initiative delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies. With $7.45 million from MEDJCT, this combined federal and provincial project will strengthen Ontario’s economic capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration, and will promote the development of a strong and diversified Ontario economy. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants